Theme Tuesdays: SSR Longchamps

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It’s time for another wheel appreciation Theme Tuesday. This time I’ve thumbed through the classic Japanese wheel catalog and landed on the timeless SSR Longchamp wheel. The Long champ came in a few different variations but each has proven to be equally versatile.

Long (pun intended) out of production if you want a Longchamp wheel you are going to have to do some searching. They are not the rarest of the rare (like say Defin fins), but if you like a good deal perhaps look for something else. Also I think they topped out at 17 inches so if you’re looking for something bigger you might be out of luck.

 

Longchamps are a great wheel for basically any classic Japanese vehicle
It took me awhile to find a truck sitting on Longchamps but this will do, oh yes this will do
A ’69 Datsun on Longchamps via Zilvia photography by Dan Bakaleinik
Datsuns do take particularly well to Longchamps
Or is it that Longchamps take well to Datsuns? Via Super Street
How about a 510 to round things out. via 510garage.com
This CRX is one one of the subtle Longchamp variations I menitoned in the intro, I believe Infinit wheels refinished this set
This is one of the best Longchamp applications I have seen locally
The Holset turbo suits this car pretty well too… and posting the car without the engine bay is sacrilege
@sr_20gang has a really awesome looking 240 I somehow just stumbled upon
How about a Lada Samara hammered on Longchamps? via madetoscrape
To close things out here’s an Impala on what look like they might just be SSR Longchamps. It is pretty fan boy to say but I really love how Japan does American Metal! – via Riverside

Project Why Wait: Are We On The Air(Lift)?

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The fact that I am going to be running Air Lift Performance components on Project Why Wait shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The large banner behind my work bench was a bit of foreshadowing, and an easy indication of where my air ride loyalty lies.

I’ve had Air Lift Performance struts, and Autopilot v2 management supporting my car since 2013 and the system has performed admirably all year round in that time.

When Air Lift Performance released their new management system it was quite literally the only digital option I considered.

ALP doesn’t release a product just to release a product, nor do they do they rush anything to the market. Their entire line up is calculated and developed to better perform than their previous iterations and market alternatives. The products are only released after rigorous testing. This testing happens both in the lab of their Michigan based facility and on the roads.

Everything you see above actually arrived almost a year ago but I managed to resist the urge to completely un-box the delivery until a few weeks ago.

Since receiving my shipment the 3P/H management has become pretty common place which means I had seen it before.

However one part of the equation I had never seen was the physical packaging.

It might seem silly to talk about the packaging of a product, but when you’re dealing with a wide variety of manufacturers the ones that take time to work on presentation stand out.

Parts such as this cost a significant chunk of change, so it is nice when a company values your purchase by not only standing behind their product, but putting it in a nice package to boot.

Before I got to opening the management however I unwrapped the brawn that goes with the brains.

For the truck I’ve gone with dual 2.5 gallon brushed aluminium tanks, literally twice what is in my Mazda. My reasoning for going with more air is pretty simple, not only is the truck heavier, but the truck also affords more physical space to mount the components than my speed3 does.

More air equals more play time and less compressor noise.

I chose the brushed option,  over the polished alternative, because I knew I’d be painting the tank. Poof can, powder, or spray gun it is easier to prep and paint a brushed surface than it is a polished one.

I also know these tanks are pretty stout after the one in my car endured a fairly significant accident without failing.

For compressors I chose a dual pack of black Viair 444c units. This is again double what is in my car. I’ve never had any significant issue with my Viair units, and I have not found them overly loud so I saw no reason to choose something else.

One downside to Viair compressors was that previously they only came in chrome. That has been rectified with their black line, and the black line looks damn good.

The leader hose and check valve are also black which is a nice touch. However if there is a Viair weak link it’s the check valve above which I’ll be replacing with a SMC unit.

Moving back to the 3P/H unit the first box I opened was the manifold and controller. Yes I’d seen both before in person but these were different because these were mine, which meant I could stare, ogle, and fondle at will.

If I had a single criticism of the Autopilot V2 system it would be that the controller is fairly utilitarian. It works flawlessly, is sized well, and is quite rugged, but visually it’s not the most attractive thing in the world. Especially when compared to some of the other options that are available.

This is certainly not the case with the new controller which is a lovely piece of kit. It carries with it the significant weight of a quality piece along with the fit and finish you’d expect with any modern quality electric device.

If I’m to be honest I’ve already got a bit of anxiety about cleaning finger prints off it meticulously, similar to how I was with my first idevice.

The manifold is also a very nice piece. The harness entry point is in a much more becoming location than the V2s plug was located. An engraved plate bearing the Air Lift Performance logo, versus the Air Lift Company Logo of the Auto Pilot V2, looks great as well.

Overall this is a piece designed to be featured in air installs rather than tucked away out of view.

SMC push to connect fittings are the line interface of choice, and I ordered this one in 3/8 line for faster articulation than with my car. Again the whole ‘it weighs more’ reality plays into the choices here.

From what I’m told a truck on 1/4 is no bueno.

The pressure vs ride height choice was an easy one to make. I like my pressure based system, don’t get me wrong, but since becoming a father and carrying wildly different weight loads of stuff from weekend to weekend I see the value in a height based system.

Stance is, as you know, everything in my eyes and typically I don’t allow for a lot of room for error in my preferred ride height.

Suffice to say too low past my desired pre set and things hit other things which isn’t ideal.

Furthermore since my wife will be driving the truck on occasion the ability to set a (slightly) higher preset for her and not have to worry about what she’s hauling altering the height is a great piece of mind.

The installation of the system, will be documented at a later date but I did take a look at all the weatherproof, tested, harnesses to see what I was in for. With the included literature I’m sure it should be pretty straight forward. Should it not be Blair has offered to come by and lend a hand in my garage for a beer or two.

To make the installation as easy as possible Air Lift Performance includes literally everything you need include a water trap, and even a line cutter.

Now obviously there’s quite ways to go before I get to installing these system, but if you take a peak on instagram you’ll notice that I’m actually not all that far from some of these parts getting put to use in the near future.

WTF Friday: Kicking Horse

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Kijiji three-peat this week with go kart sized ’65 Mustang replica. Usually scaled down cars such as this are made of fiberglass and the proportions a little wacky, but wheels and a few other details aside this looks pretty convincing.

A custom effort completed in 2002 this baby ‘stang is hand-built and the builder was clearly meticulous.

Powered by a 5 horsepower motor (which is impressive given its 450lb weight) the diminutive Mustang has all of the visual elements a real Mustang would. Antenna, door handles, side trim, and emblems it’s all there.

It even looks to have legitimate Mustang headlights, which though they give the car a bit of a shocked expression, are a nice touch for authenticity.

The steering wheel looks to be the real deal too, or at least a real 1:1 wheel and over all the interior is no half effort. Carpeted and fully trimmed it even features an AM/FM radio for those long trips at 35mph. There’s no mention of if the gauges work, but I imagine they do given the level of detail gone into the rest of the car.

The car comes with the trailer, and a cover, for a pretty substantial price of $14,995. Unsurprisingly it is still for sale and while I think it’s cool I don’t think it’s near 15k worth of cool. I’ve been wrong before though.

Theme Tuesdays: K Swaps

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The K20 has –at least to a Honda outsider like myself– quickly become one of the most popular Honda motors for swapping not only into other Hondas, but any car that could use a high revving four-cylinder motor.

In North America the K Series motor gained notoriety on the Acura RSX Type S. However they are also available in Civics SIs, TSX, and Accords making anywhere from 150hp to 200hp stock depending on donor vehicle and trim.

Due to the motors increasing popularity a number or resources have become available for the ambitious k swapper. This means that currently all bets are off when it comes to where the k motor might end up.

Today the motor is perhaps as popular as the f20 when it comes to versatility.

This is still one of my favorite K swapped vehicles.
I think this car went through a rebuild shortly after this (I’m sure you noticed the rust around the strut towers) but I can’t remember the owners social info to look it up – Photos via The Scraped Crusaders
Finding running video of this Volkswagen took a bit of digging but it is below

1/4 mile addicted Volkswagen owners are also partaking in k swaps

This turbo k swapped EF is from the same shop that did the turbo B series, rear wheel drive, Accord that was at this year’s Motorama show
This K20, awd, mini was a real kick in the pants for this long overdue Theme Tuesday
The motor install is naturally as clean as the rest of the car
Francesco ditched the d he had in this car last year for a K
Javed’s EL is also k swapped, though with how often he changes his car I wouldn’t be surprised if something else popped under hood soon

I geeked over this car last year at Motorama simply because DA Integras are super, super rare to see at shows around here these days
This was the first K swapped Mazda I ever saw, and turbo to boot. Via Superstreet
As it turns out, there are at least two turbo K swapped FDs
Build photos of this project can be found on BYP Racings Facebook Page

I learned yesterday that K swapped Miatas are indeed a thing, and kits can be purchased from kmiata.com

Even if this car didn’t have a K under the hood I would have probably found a reason to post it via Brandon Deuster Photography
Of course true to this week’s Theme the car is powered by a supercharged k20. It is owned by @samakahn
Another Super Street entry
This 72 is unsuspecting from the outside but as you can tell by the engine bay shot above, it packs a punch

Almost as though it was fate, someone is currently swapping a K series into a Fiero, which is just the type of random stuff I like to showcase in these Theme Tuesdays.

And obviously I have to include the 900(!!) hp k swapped Toyota MR2 – Build Thread Part 1 and Part Two

The same motor is now in an NSX and, as expected, beating up on all sorts of challengers

Do you have a K project? Let me know in the comments below!

WTF Friday: Sidetracked

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Matttracks are pretty cool. They come in a variety of sizes, so that they can fit on a wide range of vehicles. Made of rubber they can also do short trips on road without making an ungodly squealing racket.

However, they are expensive. So what’s the alternative? Do it yourself of course! Which is exactly what the owner/builder of this Dodge Durango did.

Details are mysteriously scarce about the vehicles overall conception and construction, but it looks like the tracks are mounted to the factory suspension as simply as possible. The factory hubs and brakes were removed and replaced with flat car up front and a straight tube in the rear.

The Durango actually looks to be in fairly good shape, all things considered, which really makes me wonder what provoked this conversion.

Those of you familiar with industrial equipment have any idea where the tracks might have originated? With dual pumpkins and differential mounted brakes I imagine the set up is pretty recognizable if you know what you are looking at.

This is another Kijiji special, but the owner doesn’t want cash he’s looking to trade. You can see what he wants to barter for here on Kijiji.

Project Why Wait: So Fresh And So Clean

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I’ve been holding out on you guys, the chassis for ‘Project Why Wait?’ actually returned from Stripping Technologies about a month ago and I’ve kept pretty quiet about it. Believe me, I was excited and wanted to share photos immediately, but I’m still a few parts short of showing significant build process so I was gun-shy.

I have since come to my senses and realized that the frame coming back is significant progress because it means I can start bolting things up, theoretically for the last time.

Seeing the frame painted, and not covered in a moderately thick coat of rust, is a great sight.

To get it how it looks today Stripping Tech sand –well actually walnut– blasted it to remove all of the rust before coating it in POR-15 and then single stage automotive paint.

Traditionally Stripping Tech deals with powder-coat, but because of the frames size powder was out. But POR-15 covered in paint should be plenty durable and keep the elements from harming the metal.

Should rocks nick the surface I’ve already got a couple of rattle cans on deck for touch ups now and in the future.

Color was something I deliberated over for quite some time. I wanted something that wasn’t black (everyone has black) but I also wanted something that was versatile.

I didn’t want to go with too loud of a color however, just in case I fall on a sack of money and decide to respray the truck.

I settled on a metallic gun-metal and I was a nervous wreck until I saw it in person, but I think it all worked out.

My plan is for the rest of the components (wherever possible) to be black and I think the two colors will work very well together.

I’d show more of the black components, and more of the frame unwrapped, but because I am not in a hurry to scratch anything I am keeping things under wraps until I start work on a particular area.

Along with the frame and suspension components went my rear end, which I discovered was actually a bit hurt on the day of delivery.

Too heavy to lift out of the truck solo I decided to bring it along, get it coated, and deal with what was wrong later.

Doing this was a bit of a gamble but the axles did spin with each other, just not when the yoke was turned, so I took a chance on not all hope being lost.

This week I took it apart and with the help of the good people at 9bolt.com I’ve determined that it is missing a shim between the axle and the carrier. Rolling it around without said shim cocked the carrier sideways and now it doesn’t engage with the pinion gear.

I’ve arranged for a local shop to take a look at it, then I will make my next move after that. It is a limited slip equipped unit, with a cruise ready 2.77 ratio so it wouldn’t be a bad fit for the truck as is.

But a few upgrades couldn’t hurt either…

Since putting the rear suspension in was out of the question, and a friend currently has my front lower control arms to put in some bushings, I decided to square away mounting my fuel cell.

I taped up the top of the cell so that I could mark where I wanted the tank straps to go. In my head I was going to go across the tank vertically but because of how far back I mounted the fuel cell holder I had to go horizontally.

On my workbench I think taped insulators to the tank to minimize metal on metal contact. Yes, those are rim strips from the inside of a bike wheel. They are long, straight, cheap, durable and should do the job.

This isn’t the last bike part that will work its way into this build I assure you.

A little heat and persuasion bent the steel straps I purchased over the tank easy enough, and I plan to sand out the vice marks before I hit everything with a lick of paint.

For mounting I decided to put oval holes in the bottom of each strap which would allow me to put the strap on easily, push it down snug against the tank, then bolt it tight.

I created slotted holes using the classic drill two holes then walk it out method. Then I took a dremel to it afterward just to make installation and removal as painless as possible.

There’s still minor finessing I could do here, but the idea works as planned.

Next was how to mount the studs to the tank tray. The idea of grinding and then welding into my freshly painted frame didn’t thrill me, so I thought of another solution.

It is quite simple really, a bolt welded to some sheet metal that has been bent to a 90 degree angle. The weight of the tank keeps the bolt in place, and the strap bolts to the nut.

I’ll be cleaning these up a little more as well before applying a bit of rubber to them.

Here is where the studs protrude through the straps. I counter sunk the hole so the nut fits in nice and tight because I don’t have much clearance to work with between the tank and its mount.

This mounting solution isn’t completely hidden but it is pretty unobtrusive.

After all of the above it was time to test fit the straps. I bent one a little long so I had to cut some out then weld it back together. Purchasing a welder is one of the best things I’ve ever done, even if it is just a little Migpack 10. 

Here’s the straps loosely mounted with the welds ground down. I recently ordered an Aeromotive Stealth drop in fuel pump from Performance Improvements that I intend to mock-up before painting the fuel cell black.

I should have more parts and things to work on as early as Monday of next week, so here’s hoping this summer will be an exciting summer of progress on ‘Project Why Wait’!

Theme Tuesdays: Odds And Sods

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Opted to raid my cache of random photos last night while I think of some new Theme Tuesday topics (or better yet go out and shoot some).

Most of these photos are inspiration for future “what if” projects, photo ideas, or Theme Tuesdays that were started but never finished.

I’ve credited where I could but some I saved from as far back as 2010 so I can’t remember where they originated. If you know let me know I can update accordingly!

I am fairly certain I originally pulled this stunning e30 m3 from God’s Chariot
This photo makes me fondly remember the days of clean quarters and non shock value wheel fitment
This truck has changed slightly since it’s feature. I really like the Green wash @visualweight took this one
I briefly started a 454ss Theme Tuesday but couldn’t find enough source material, I may start again – This truck belongs (or belonged) to bagged454
I suppose around the same time I was pulling together a G body post as well
I repost this photo every now and again just because of how rare low Dakotas are – via: CustomDakotas.com
Just A Car Guy is a great source for some of th e most bizarre car photos ever
Wheel standers and bed dancers are still on my must see list
If you can believe it, this car is the previously featured VR6 powered s14. Trevor is super serious this second time around
Hubs and whites and bags, via The Curb Blog
This feels like the work of Brett Sloan but I am not sure if it is
Love photos like this, that capture the roots of car culture

I love vintage lowrider photos too. So much style
Something from the guys at 70s Street Machines

Does anyone know if this car was ever finished? I imagine if it was there’s quite a few really angry people floating around

WTF Friday: …is that a Sunfire?

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Building a hot rod can be done many ways. Of late putting an old body on a new chassis has become quite popular.

Usually the chassis chosen are rear wheel drive cars prior to the popularity of unibodies. Usually.

There are of course exceptions to the rule. People have been known to put anything they have sitting around on top of well, anything else they have sitting around.

Like say a 1937 Ford body on top of a Pontiac Grand Prix chassis.

From the jump the proportion of this car are, creative, to say the least. It looks like the front end has been extended significantly and maybe even the door.

The roof also looks to have been brought down some but that could just be the long front end playing trucks on me.

The rear, is devoid of any rear bumper and has tail lights from somewhere. A plate recess would have done wonders here.

The front is, put nicely, busy. Very busy. Including the Pontiac nostrils was an interesting choice, but the push bar is straight out of left field. It makes me wonder if it was added after the fact to make the car legal.

Inside is pure Pontiac and I don’t know why but looking at it I can smell cigarette smoke. This just might be because most of the Pontiacs I’ve been in have belonged to smokers…. but I digress.

It’s currently for sale, best offer takes it home.

Built Not Bought: The Arrogant Man’s Mantra

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There has always been a divide between those that build their cars and those that don’t. This divide has been discussed, debated and argued about hundreds of times over.

Many words have been written about the topic, and admittedly we may not need more. However after becoming quite familiar with the Ridler competition this year I was compelled –some might say triggered– to share a few thoughts.

With an extreme focus on engineering, creativity, and workmanship the Ridler is one of the hardest best of show awards to win.

People may debate each of the Great 8 finalists aesthetic merit but from a craftsmanship view-point they are all remarkable.

After immersing myself in the selection process, and writing a few articles on the cars, I noticed that there is some level of contempt around the competition. One of the most prevalent criticisms is that it has become a cheque writing exercise.

Some enthusiasts turn their nose at the entire competition because it doesn’t lend itself to the back yard builder, despite the fact that there are no rules against their entry.

Detractors state that it is easy to build a car to Ridler standards when money is no object.

But it’s not. Just ask any of the builders involved if it was ‘easy’ to put together a car of Ridler caliber.

Pundits also claim that those who have someone else build their car are a lesser form of enthusiast.

But they’re not. Talk to any of the vehicle owners and try not to hear the passion in their voice as they talk about what is now their car.

The notion that a build is any less remarkable because of the money that went into it doesn’t really make much sense. Owning and modifying a vehicle is not a great numbers game. Often it is cheaper to buy a car than it is to build one. Furthermore purchasable options are also usually easier to maintain, better performing and an overall better investment.

But in a hobby where individualization is an integral part, buying something that anyone else can fails to impress.

Creating a custom vehicle takes much more than money, it takes vision and execution. More often than not it also takes a combined effort from a number of individuals.

Devaluing a build because it was paid for by someone with the means to do so unfairly takes away from the people who put in the work. Those individuals had the talent, the client just provided the medium and often the idea.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of capable builders out there whose work goes virtually unnoticed because the right project never comes along.

That might be fine for some but there are many who both want and deserve for their work to be seen. It’s unjust to dismiss the efforts of these builders simply because they were hired by someone who could afford to pay for their talent.

Similarly dismissing everyone who commissions their builds as a lesser enthusiast is an arrogant and narrow-minded perspective. Yes, there are some who write a cheque at the beginning and only reappear at the end. But, there are also many who can’t/won’t/don’t spin a wrench but stay involved throughout the entire process.

These enthusiasts have sketched the car of their dreams out on napkin several times over, but have opted to have it built instead of building it themselves. Many race car drivers do not built their cars, are they not enthusiasts?

The reasons for outsourcing a build are plentiful but the most common is skill. Not everyone is capable of building something themselves. The analytical thinking, attention to detail, and motor skills required to safely build a vehicle is not a common trait among all people. Is it better to try, and potentially put yourself and others in danger or know when you are in over your head and call in the pros?

This question is rhetorical, and one I am constantly battling with on my project.

I am, at least historically, more a car assembler than a builder and there plenty of things outside my wheelhouse. Some of those things I have a desire to learn, or improve my skills at, and others I have little interest in and thus problem with outsourcing.

Time is money and sometimes its more worth my time to pay the money.

Most who chant built not bought are in the same boat but too afraid to admit it. I’m sure there are plenty of cars with built not bought stickers on them sitting incomplete in garages around the world. The owners of these cars would no doubt love to have them out sooner if they could but a few extra dollars towards enlisting some help to lift them past the next hurdle.

There’s really no shame in that either because time is the second most relevant reason to call in the cavalry.

Life doesn’t want anyone to build a car. There’s only 24 hours in a day to figure out a problem, and most of those 24 hours are dedicated to things other than the build.

Days become months, months become years, and timelines are easily blown out as priorities change. Paying a shop, a good shop, means that a build will be done by an established date.

If you’re the type who enjoys the drive more than the build then paying makes perfect sense. For those that enjoy the build over the drive paying someone else for the fun part doesn’t make sense.

But really it’s just two different sides of the same enthusiast coin, and often the ones who take the time to build things correctly don’t criticize those who pay to have things built.

Usually the reason for this is because they are the one’s being paid to do the building.

The die hard do it yourself crowd may not realize it, but the pay someone to do it crowd is an important part of the enthusiast community and industry.

Many of the best back yard builders are given the opportunity to do what they live for a living simply because people are willing to pay them for it.

If you’ve gotten this far I’m sure you are wondering how I feel about people who buy completed cars that were modified by their previous owner.

Honestly, those people just might be the smartest of all. Cars are, typically, horrible at holding their value and there are tons of great deals to be had if you know where to look.

If you’re comfortable with buying a finished or unfinished project then by all means give it a go. I’m surely not one to talk or judge, the chassis going under Project Why Wait is one I bought and didn’t build.

Finally, contrary to what those who live by built not bought mantra might think, paying for a build is not easy. It requires resources, and usually these resources come from hard work. Hard work in a different way perhaps, but hard work all the same.

One person’s talents might lie in creating a frame from scratch and another’s might lie in working the stock market, or renovating a house for profit. It’s all relative and one skill is no less valuable than another if it contributes to a car build.

The choice to build or buy is rarely ever a simple binary decision, and instead of drawing lines in the sand it’s much easier to let people do what they are comfortable with while you do the same.

Built not bought, bought not built ultimately doesn’t matter if at the end of the day it puts a smile one your face.

Theme Tuesdays: Recently Viewed – March 2017

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Another month down and another Recently viewed post to celebrate. My YouTube video consumption actually slowed down a bit in March in favor of Netflix and Iron Fist.

However my interest in that series seems to be waning, so I might be back to Youtube videos while I edit photos.

This month’s picks start out local at Motorama, then go to the North Face Rally Stunt driving charge fiasco.

After that it’s a bit of a trip around the internet, with a few stops off in the past, and a couple at Hoonigan, before concluding with Project Binky, an AWD Mini build that looks stellar.













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